Arizona Arachnids

Hey guys, well I am back from Arizona! It was an incredible experience and we saw a remarkable number of species. While the Reptiles and Amphibians were the trips main focus, I found the invertebrates (particularly the Arachnids) fascinating. So I thought I’d kick the Arizona posts off with one about two of my favourite 8 legged Arizona finds.

Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis) – I’ve always liked wolf spiders, I find them hugely enjoyable to watch as they scurry around the edge of my pond, however this one made the ones in the South of England look tiny! One night we went out tracking rattlesnakes using radio-telemetry, and as we were wandering the desert we spotted this specimen running around on the floor. So naturally we all crowded round her to take some photos, while doing so our head torches were attracting a great number of moths. One of them, foolishly, landed on the floor and in the blink of an eye the spider had pounced on the moth and subdued it. I felt very lucky to witness this and it was an awesome experience – plus it allowed us to lie down face to face with her and get some feeding photos!

An impressive spider consuming a moth that it took down right in front of us.
An impressive spider consuming a moth that it took down right in front of us.

Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) – This mighty scorpion was found on the same night as the Wolf spider. We spotted it in the undergrowth due to it fluorescing under Ultraviolet light – this peculiar characteristic is present in all scorpions and is caused by a protein in their exoskeleton. While not a particularly deadly scorpion, its stature was impressive and it was incredibly strong! Along with the size, the numerous hairs covering its many appendages are what rightfully earn it the name Giant Desert Hairy.

A rather large scorpion found in the undergrowth of the desert.
A rather large scorpion found in the undergrowth of the desert.
This picture shows how scorpions look under a UV torch. They stick out like a saw thumb and are incredibly easy to spot.
This picture shows how scorpions look under a UV torch. They stick out like a saw thumb and are incredibly easy to spot.

So there we go, just two of the many species that I was lucky enough to see in Arizona. I am now back at Bangor University. I will continue to post about the wildlife that I saw in Arizona, mainly because they were fascinating! Also I rather enjoy writing about them, so hopefully you all enjoy reading about them.

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